Monday, December 29th, 2008 at 4:13 pm  |  30 responses

Motley Crew

Who let these guys back in the League?

by Matt Caputo

If experience is more valuable to NBA teams than a young player’s potential is, then the signings of the last two weeks do nothing but support that claim. The NBA has dusted off a few old names in an effort to boost some troubled clubs. Oddly enough, the players signed seem to barely be able to help themselves.

With that, SLAM takes a closer look at the situations in which these old pros have found themselves.

Darius Miles (Grizzlies) – Just when it seemed like Darius Miles (once of SI and SLAM cover fame) would fade in “Bolivian” as Mike Tyson once put it, Miles’ agent found someone desperate and dehydrated enough to drink the cool aide. The now 27-year-old high school phenomenon signed with the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 13, but must sit out 10 games because he’s violated the NBA Substance Abuse Policy. Again.
Miles: Age 20
Miles’ situation is unique. If he plays in a minimum of 10 games for Memphis, the Blazers will be forced to add Miles’ $9.3 million salary to their current salary cap, as well as his salary next season, costing the team $18 million in cap room over the next two years.

Steve Francis (Grizzlies) – Before his knees gave up on him, Steve Francis was a beast. His early NBA numbers have never lied. But after nine years in the League, it’s would hard to see Stevie “Franchise” making any kind of impact on Memphis’ doomed season. Though he was never officially out of the League, it’s hard to argue that he’s been much of a factor for a long time.

The Rockets traded the inactive Francis to Memphis on Christmas Eve along with an ‘09 draft pick that Houston had previously received from the Grizzlies for a conditional pick in 2011. The move allows Houston to drop under the luxury tax threshold. They can now sign another player if they want.

Fred Jones (Clippers) – Jones, the former Slam Dunk Champ, is back in the NBA after spending last season with the Knicks where, to his credit, he accounted for some solid relief minutes. Originally taken by Zeke Thomas and the Indiana Pacers with the 14th pick of the 2002 NBA draft, Jones seemed to be a long shot from being back in the League. Signing with the Clippers brings Jones to his fifth team in seven seasons. He joins a Clips team where he’ll have to compete with four other guys for playing time at his spot. It’s safe to say he’ll be just visiting L.A.Young All-Star

Juwan Howard (Bobcats) – Juwan Howard made a cameo appearance in Hoop Dreams in 1994. After failing to make the Nuggets roster in training camp, he’s signed to play in his 15th NBA season. With a record of 11-20, the Bobcats can’t be betting too much money on the 35-year-old Howard’s contribution. Look for Howard to provide some quality leadership and little else.

Dee Brown (Phoenix) – Those who thought Dee Brown’s NBA career was over when he spent last season in Turkey and dropped a hip-hop single were stupid. Record sales being what they are, Dee needed to shift his focus back to playing basketball for a living. The Wizards picked him up to start this season, but released him in early December to make room for Mike James and Jarvis Crittenton. Shortly after that, he signed with the Suns and resumed the season. Although we’re glad he gave up on rapping, being Steve Nash’s back-up isn’t any kind of stable alternative.

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  • Bostwik

    Any backup is better than Goran Dragic. What were they thinking?

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Darius Miles is still in the league and Jason Williams retired. Life ain’t fair.

  • jen

    the francis trade was a pretty smart move by chris wallace and a win-win for both parties. houston can keep mutumbo and memphis can get their pick back. i seriously doubt steve francis will even suit up for the grizzlies and if he does, ivy can go ahead and start packing his bags.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    Fred Jones is a solid back-up though, he shouldn’t be on this list.

  • http://allday-fadeaway.blogspot.com Nbk

    a solid backup if your team is garbage.

  • seppo

    It´s Fred Jones not Frank Williams. Why is everyone so surprised to see him back? Where is James Jones, by the way? It almost seems as if his injury was career-ending.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose


  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    How many guys are left in the L who actually played for the freaking Bullets? BRING BACK BIG GHEORGHE.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Best I can tell, to answer my own question, there are two other former Bullets still active. Name ‘em both and win absolutely nothing.

  • seppo

    Ben Wallace and Howard are the only former Bullets still in the league.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    You would be 100 percent wrong. Well, not 100 percent, as those two are two of the three. But there’s one more, and he should be THE most obvious one. Mitchell & Ness even retroed his jersey.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    well russ, thatd be juwan howard and sheed

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Rasheed Wallace!

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Actually Tarzan, the two OTHERS I was looking for (seeing that Juwan is shown IN his Bullets uni right up there ^^) were ‘Sheed and Big Ben. So you don’t win the nothing either. Thanks for playing!

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Somewhat related (and somewhat relevant, given the return of the prodigal Franchise) there are only three former VANCOUVER Grizzlies still active in the L. Can you name all three? (No, I’m not including Mr. Francis.) Two are easy, one not so much.

  • seppo

    Stro Show, Bibby and Damon Jones.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Well, that was fun.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I’m gonna add to Russ: Who can name the three active Washington Wizards?

  • Niio

    LMAO @ Moose.. Umm is it Haywood, Arenas and Thomas? opps!

  • Big Marv

    Kwame Brown, no wait he’s in Detroit somewhere….with Roscoe and Bubba.

    Nice work Tricky Davis…..stay of the green.

  • http://ldshoops.blogspot.com bakers’ dozen (12-13)

    Error: Juwan Howard DID make the Nuggs roster out of training camp, but when they traded Iverson for Billups and McDyess, the Nuggs were forced to drop Howard for the salary available to sign Dyess…good move, huh?

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com Dacre

    If I was PHX I would go and ask if Nick Van Exel wants a run for the rest of the season?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Bakers is correct.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Poor Stevie though. I liked that dude.

  • http://www.ballislife.com Justin Walsh

    Fred Jones and Dee Brown are in the League…Homicide and Hook Mitchell aren’t. Him, yeah I get that.

  • Boing Dynasty

    Dude hook is 40 years old, 5’9, a convicted felon and former drug addict. Homicide just dosnt have NBA talent.

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  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    Check Juwan’s Air Way Ups!

  • Jason Young

    Everyone on this list is an injury riddled, money slobbin’, lazy bone. cept Dee Brown. F. Jones is still sick!

  • http://www.slamonline.com B.Easy B.Greezy

    Damn, Juwan Howard got back in the league?